TCS cycling and mirror covers
Wednesday, March 10, 2021 6:06 AM
The odd part of the night began with a steady stream of error messages in the galil status line on the TCS window. The only noticeable effect this had was sending the dome to positions away from the telescope. In those instances, the dome would eventually stop and go back to the telescope position. After the second time this happened I decided to home the dome and telescope, close the TCS software, and reopen it. I neglected to shut the mirror covers before I did this, so when I reopened the TCS software, they closed by themselves. When I tried to open them, not all of them would open. I repeatedly tried to open and close them to no avail. Finally I decided to get up on the big ladder and take a peak. Somehow the South petal snuck underneath the East, preventing it from opening. I wasunable to budge the center baffle enough to free them up. As it was the middle of the night, and I was alone, I wasn't inclined to climb up on the telescope to try to get a better position. Decided after an hour of all of this to call it a night.
While cycling the TCS did indeed resolve the issues with the slew of errors, it is absaolutely worthwhile to note that whenever the TCS is cycled, the mirror covers go to their defailt position of CLOSED. If not at zenith, this can lead to issues where they do not close in order. This can easily end a night of otherwise fine observing. In this case, the observer knows the system better than most other observers, but still did the right thing in not trying to realign the covers at night alone. DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS FIX WITHOUT PROPER CONSULTATION!